Mike Zito of the Blood Brothers put up a Facebook entry this week announcing that he will for the time being be leaving the Blood Brothers after this week’s shows in Texas and Winter Park to be with his wife Laura.
“Laura went to resume chemotherapy last week in Houston, but her doctors told her they wouldn’t be able to treat her anymore. Her cancer is just so advanced, the chemo would ruin her health and she would lose what quality of life she has left. Her doctors have suggested Laura start hospice right away.
“Of course, we were heartbroken, but we have been heartbroken for the past year. We have hoped and prayed and Laura has fought so hard the past 12 months but we both knew there was a good chance this day would come. She is in constant pain most days, it’s terrible. She still sometimes can feel good enough to get up and do some things, but it’s usually followed by more pain. She has good days and bad days.”
When I began writing about music half a century ago, the protocol was to maintain an “objective distance” from your subject, a kind of separation of church and state. That’s not the case anymore. I consider many of the musicians I write about to be my friends. Websites like American Blues Scene and social media in general bring us all, fans, music journalists and musicians alike, into the same world.
So, when I interviewed Mike Zito April for a cover story about The Blood Brothers in Blues Music Magazine we stripped away the distance between musician and journalist and shared some very emotional thoughts about our mutual experiences with loved ones with cancer. In spite of all he was going through and his intense road warrior schedule, he told me I could call him anytime just to talk. He made me feel like he and I were blood brothers.
Obviously, there’s never a good time to deal with stage 4 cancer, but in a genre of music that struggles just to survive and build an audience to support one’s existence as a road warrior, Mike’s situation is more than heartbreaking. I personally think The Blood Brothers have the potential to become a legacy act, with Albert Castiglia and Mike Zito becoming icons. They’re already on that road with this first album and tour. Right now, the album is at the top of the playlist at Sirius XM’s blues channel.
Mike IS my friend, and I’m writing this to let you know he needs us to pull for him and Laura. From Mike’s Facebook entry: “Finally, a lot of friends and family have offered to fundraise over the past year or to donate to our family but because I was working I always said no. I told folks when I come home and stop working you can help us out, well now is the time.
“We have started a GoFundMe to help my family and Laura. I won’t be working and the money will help to pay our monthly bills and living expenses. We have insurance but plenty of out-of-pocket expenses for medical bills that are not covered by insurance.
“We will also use any monies to make sure Laura has the BEST summer of her life. We have rented a beach cabin in Texas and are flying our three older children in next week. We want Laura to be surrounded by her family and friends and do whatever she wants. Pedicures, manicures, massages…..whatever she wants because she deserves it!
“If there are any monies left we will put that money away in savings for our children. Laura was a school teacher for 24 years and was forced to retire due to illness at the end of last year. She has something to leave the girls, but not as much as she would’ve had if she had completed her full employment.
“No one deserves this support more than Laura Zito.
“She is the BEST person I know. She is the most kind, loving, and caring person in my world by far. I want her to have peace of mind, and thoroughly enjoy her family time this summer.
“We all want this and your support will make this happen.
“Thank you so much for always loving my family and supporting us over the years.
“I would not be the man I am today without Laura Zito.
“We will continue to post photos, and share videos and I will do daily posts of music and playing guitar. I know so many of you will call and text and write and we just won’t be able to get back to you all, please understand we will try our best.”
Help OUR friend Mike Zito and Laura. Buy the album. Spread the word. The album is positioned to go all the way. And I’m not just saying that because I feel sorry for Mike and Laura.